Young people were singled out as increasingly likely victims of internet-borne fraud, including because of their penchant for liberal sharing of personal information.
A total of 27% of Brits of all ages – including over 52% of youths aged 18-25 – reuse their email password for a number of other online accounts, according to a study conducted by the United Kingdom government’s ‘Cyber Aware’ campaign together with Experian.
On the other hand, only 13% of people aged 55 or older were found to be guilty of such password reuse. Of course this might be best explained by the fact that younger people tend to set up more online accounts than their parents or grandparents.
Meanwhile, about 79% of over 2,100 respondents across the generations admitted that they had sent sensitive information such as bank details or copies of passports and driving licenses via email. Two out of three have yet to delete all such information from their inboxes. For one in every two respondents, the bank or credit card information that they have previously sent by email is still sitting among their sent items.
The conclusions of the ‘Cyber Aware’ survey come in the wake of recent findings that online fraud is the most prevalent crime in England and Wales, costing individuals some £10 billion last year alone. Young people were singled out as increasingly likely victims of internet-borne fraud, including because of their penchant for liberal sharing of personal information.
Also, research by Experian last year concluded that older Brits value security over convenience. Thanks to their tendency to use various passwords for different online services, they were found to be generally more prudent in protecting their online lives than their grandchildren.
Young Brits are by no means an outlier as far as poor password habits go. For example, a 2016 survey by the US-based Pew Research Center found that 39% of those quizzed used the same or very similar passwords for many of their online accounts, thus putting themselves at risk of identity theft or fraud.
Want my password? But of course!
Sharing passwords with other people is another common way of courting trouble. For instance, more than four in ten Americans have shared the password to one of their online accounts with a friend or family member, according to the Pew Research Center study.
A LastPass poll in the United States in 2016 found a similar proportion of people sharing not only their passwords to email and communication services, but also passwords for financial services – despite most of them acknowledging that such practice is risky. Only 19% of the respondents claimed that they do not share with other people any login details that would jeopardize their identity or financial information. In general, the younger the people the more likely they were to share their passwords.
Back in the UK recently, several Members of Parliament found nothing strange about sharing their work computer login details with aides and interns, earning a rebuke from the country’s data protection watchdog ICO.